The Suicide Squad writer-director James Gunn says it's "likely" footage will screen sometime this year as his DC Comics movie remains on schedule to meet its August 2021 release date despite industry-wide delays caused by the coronavirus crisis. Unlike its David Ayer-directed predecessor, 2016's Will Smith and Margot Robbie starring Suicide Squad, Gunn's entry in the DC Extended Universe will not have a presence at San Diego Comic-Con as the annual event was the latest to be cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Studio Warner Bros. in 2015 hosted a cast discussion panel and debuted convention-exclusive footage from Suicide Squad that was famously pirated and circulated online.
In 2015, Warner Bros. released the first Suicide Squad trailer online one day after failing to contain the pirated footage. In a statement condemning the leak, Warner Bros. said the official trailer was made available online "in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed," adding the studio regretted the decision "as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic-Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation."
The studio took a similar approach with its upcoming Wonder Woman sequel when it premiered the first footage from director Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman 1984 exclusively for Comic-Con attendees in 2018. New footage was later screened during Warner Bros.' CinemaCon presentation in April 2019, before the film's first trailer was released online this past December.
The first footage from The Suicide Squad is anticipated to be released online as venues remain shuttered and large gatherings continue to be prohibited.
"It's the right thing to do, but I'm still sad to hear about #SDCC being cancelled this year," Gunn tweeted Friday after Comic-Con announced its closure for 2020. "I'll miss all of you. We as creators, studios, and publishers will have to find ways to make it up to you the fans in other ways."
Joining returning Suicide Squad stars Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, and Joel Kinnaman are franchise newcomers Idris Elba, John Cena, Taika Waititi, David Dastmalchian, Steve Agee, Daniela Melchior, Flula Borg, Nathan Fillion, Mayling Ng, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Joaquin Cosio, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Alice Braga, Tinashe Kajese, Peter Capaldi, Julio Ruiz, Jennifer Holland,and Gunn's frequent collaborator Michael Rooker.
The Suicide Squad opens August 6, 2021.